Title: Skin After Skin (PsyCop #8)
Author: Jordan Castillo Price
Publisher: JCP Books
Release Date: June 25, 2017
Page Count: 450
Reviewed by: Kristin
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
A Crash Prequel
Fierce. Audacious. Independent. Curtis Ash can’t be bothered to settle down. He’s too busy enjoying his cushy job as a high-paid stylist, caught in a whirlwind of hookups, parties, and obscenely priced cocktails.
The only snarl in an otherwise charmed life is the salon’s hotshot colorist, Red Turner. Not only does Red put the whammy on customers and rake in all the big tips, he’s oblivious to Crash’s flirtation. But there will be plenty of time to win him over…so Crash thinks.
Thanks to his refusal to trust his gut, Crash not only tanks his career—he allows the one man who truly holds his interest to slip away. While he insists he doesn’t need a relationship to complete him, would sharing his life with someone really be so bad?
Skin After Skin is a sweeping saga that begins two years before “Among the Living” and ends just after “Spook Squad”. Experience PsyCop like you’ve never seen it before, through Crash’s eyes. Discover new facets of characters and events from the span of the entire series and beyond, all from the viewpoint of an extroverted empath.
For those of you following the PsyCop series, Crash gets his own story! YAY!
His tale begins at the salon Luscious, where Crash is a senior stylist and BFF’s with Pilar. Ralph, owner of Luscious, brings on the stunning and aloof Red. Red is the catalyst for everything that follows – Crash meeting Carolyn, Crash leaving Luscious, failed jobs at Cutterz and the franchise salon, moving in above the psychic Lydia, dating Jacob, later meeting Vic and Lisa, and, basically, how the world insists on crapping on him and there’s not a heck of a lot he can do about it.
There is SO MUCH I want to say about this book! This review really doesn’t do the book justice and no way can it – there is just too much that happens between the pages to chat about it all.
I greatly enjoyed this because it filled in a lot of background on Crash, who has a pretty predominant role in the series. Crash’s story parallel’s the rest of the PsyCop books, with references to significant points and pivotal events. I liked how the interactions with Carolyn, Jacob, and Vic were kept to scenes, keep points in Crash’s world, and our PsyCop characters didn’t take over Crash’s story.
We are introduced to Maxine, Crash’s mother, with whom he has very mixed feelings about. His relationship with her is a bit like a themed roller coaster at Disney world – up, down, and around – but deep down, when things come to a standstill, he loves his Mom.
And we are brought into contact with folks who are just passing through Crash’s world, who may or may not provide him with a stepping stone or insight.
And we find that despite his coiffed and pierced appearance, and his snarky mouth, and even snarkier attitude, Crash is one heck of a guy, with a strong moral compass and strongly held beliefs. Appearances can be so deceiving!
I had a handful of items that kept this from being a 5 star read:
The break-up with Jacob felt incomplete, off-balance, and overly dramatic. Crash didn’t tell Jacob dinner was going to include his Mother, so when Crash finds Jacob lied to him about working (and I thought this was never really clarified, if he was indeed working or not – and I re-read the scene several times) then retaliates back at Jacob, it came across as petty more than anything.
Crash realizes later why he and Jacob weren’t compatible, but the moment of the break-up itself – things felt off. And I confess, if Jacob and told Victor about it in an earlier book, I honestly don’t remember his side of the story. I didn’t feel I quite got the resolution between Jacob and Crash that I was looking for.
The break-ins at Lydia’s and Sticks and Stones – again, I felt I was left hanging. We’re they related? Separate events? Indication the neighborhood was sliding into gang territory?
Crash’s Empath abilities. More to come perhaps?
And, Crash’s relationship with Red left me more perplexed than not. Maybe it was Red who perplexed me? Some of that too…
And maybe all the above was partly the point of the story – Crash is a darn complex guy, his life is tumultuous and multifaceted, so why should any of the above have simple answers?
Ultimately, there were things I loved about Crash and aspects of the story that left me somewhat confused. Being able able to write a complete parallel story to an existing plot line is remarkable in my opinion.
My only regret is I have to wait to see what happens next! Recommended if you’ve read the PsyCop series.